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Trump’s odd view of science

ED. 252 | FEBRUARY 2017

 

Early Trump Administration plans make no mention of renewable energy

The new president of the United States, Donald Trump, announced measures that have a direct impact on research subjects like climate change and energy. One of his early actions was to publish the so-called America First Energy Plan on the White House web site, proposing to roll back “harmful and unnecessary policies.” According to the document, the new administration will reassess the Climate Action Plan launched by Barack Obama in 2013. Although the Trump plan states that the current Administration is committed to clean coal technology, it does not mention the role of renewable energy. “Omitting renewable energy from the plan is churlish. It reads like score-settling,” Robert Socolow, climate expert from Princeton, told the journal Nature. The opinions on climate change held by Mick Mulvaney, picked by Trump to head the White House Office of Management and Budget, may influence government investments in related research. “I am not yet convinced that it is a direct correlation between manmade activity and a change in the climate,” Mulvaney said before a Senate hearing. Certain cabinet post appointments also raised some concern. One such case was physician Tom Price, nominated to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), parent agency of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Price is famed for fighting in congress to curtail the expansion of research funding for science. Trump has so far kept physician-geneticist Francis Collins at the helm of the NIH, a post to which he was appointed in 2009.


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